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Domination on the Dance Floor

By Eric D. Nielsen

On Sunday, November 14th, 64 members of the MIT Ballroom dance team journeyed to Craston, RI to compete in the fifth annual Brown Ballroom Dance Competition, held in the Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet ballroom. Over 250 couples and close to 20 schools from the New England, New York and Pennsylvania areas competed, with one couple coming all the way from University of Michigan.

The competition was stiff, but MIT dancers of all levels, from the newcomers whom just started dancing in September to the Open level dancers with years of experience, rose to the challenge and dominated the competition. Some of the highlights included MIT couples capturing four of six of the first place ribbons at the Open level, six of eight first place ribbons at the newcomer level, and sweeping the top three places in the Rookie-Veteran Waltz fun dance.

The day began with the International Standard dances. First to dance were the newcomers of which there were roughly 100 couples. Their dance was the Waltz and MIT captured four places in the eight couple final. Winning the event were Robert A. Bernstein G and Katya Dolginova ’98.

The last events of the Standard section were the two Open (highest level) events. The first event was the Waltz/Tango/Foxtrot/Quickstep four-dance.

Michael Otero and Marta M. Lipinski G won the event and then danced their way to another first place in the Open Viennese Waltz event.

MIT dominates American rhythm

Changing gears (and costumes), the style of dancing switched to the American Rhythm dances for the second half of the morning’s events. As before, the dancing started with the newcomers and proceeded to more experienced dancers.

Bernstein and Dolginova captured first place in both the Rumba and Cha-cha events and placed second in Swing.

Tony V. Maesto G and Kenia Franco won Rumba and were joined by Mohammed B. Zaman and Lauren Bradford ’02 in third place and Boris Berdnikov G and Sofya Rashkhodnikova G in sixth.

Fun dances were held both before and after the lunch break. Before lunch was the Inter-Collegiate Jive, in which the two dancers had to be from different schools and could not be a couple that regularly practices together. MIT’s Zaman and Tanya Dennison (Boston University) placed fifth. After lunch was the Rookie-Veteran Waltz -- one member of each couple had to have less than a year of dancing experience while the other member had to have more. MIT swept the top three places of the event with Stephen Gildea and Tilke M. Judd ’03 in first followed by Berstein and Lipinkski in second.

The regular events picked up with the American Smooth dances. In Newcomer American Waltz, Berstein and Dolginova placed first and in Newcomer American Tango, Eric Nielsen G and Michelle L. Shook took first.

The International Latin dances were the final events of the day. Carlos A. Lopez ’03 and Genevieve T. Cuevas ’03 won the Newcomer International Rumba.

Maesto and Franco placed first in Beginning International and also won the Beginning International Rumba.

The team’s next and final competition of the term will take place on Sunday, December 5, at Yale.